SPRINGFIELD — Dozens of people on Tuesday searched through the swampy woods near Springfield for a 19-year-old man believed to have gone missing there on New Year's Eve.
Men and women dressed in hunting gear and waders combed the area in southeast Livingston Parish with first responders in hopes of locating Peter Pedeaux, who was last seen Sunday night near Blood River Road, according to family and law enforcement.
"It was an unbelievable display of men and women," the missing Springfield man's uncle, Deven Pedeaux, said late Tuesday afternoon. "We just haven't come up with anything."
Deven Pedeaux said his nephew went missing in the woods around 10:30 p.m. Sunday after going to his friend's house on Blood River Road to fish.
The uncle said he believes Peter Pedeaux may have gotten lost on an adventure in the flooded forest. He's holding out hope the 19-year-old found a place to shelter through two of the season's coldest nights.
“We’re believing and praying for a miracle that somehow, somewhere, that he is in a place where he found a little place to hold on," said Deven Pedeaux, who is also a pastor at The Mission Church in Hammond.
He estimated that nearly 150 people came out to help, whether by searching through the woods or by helping at the staging areas. Among the volunteers were congregants from his church and people who brought their own boats, he said.
The family had placed a post on Facebook asking community members to meet at 22318 Blood River Road to assist. The spot was a staging area throughout the morning for the volunteers.
Deven Pedeaux said the group plans to continue searching Wednesday.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that Pedeaux was last seen with friends. He is described as 5 feet 9 inches, 145 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
Sheriff's office spokeswoman Lori Steele said authorities are searching by foot, air and boat, with the aid of search dogs. They planned to continue the search Tuesday night.
Livingston Parish Fire Protection District 2 is also assisting with the search.
Deven Pedeaux said his nephew works for a carpenter and has plans to go to a bible college in Dallas later this month, with the goal of becoming a missionary.
"He is the most generous, caring," Deven Pedeaux said. "That’s why he has such a reputation, that all these people are here."
Church members and family friends are planning to continue the search Wednesday beginning at 7:30 a.m., meeting at the Blood River Church of God. Searchers are encouraged to wear waders or hip boots.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office at (225) 686-2241, extension 1.